All aboard the Ooze cruise.

After a substandard spin-off and a thoroughly disappointing sixth-entry in the Resident Evil series, some may argue that Capcom’s illustrious franchise is in danger of deteriorating quicker than a human infected with the T-Virus. (Itchy… not so tasty.)

It’s impossible to deny the pulling power that the publisher’s signature brand of survival horror still holds. But if Capcom continues to stumble along like the mindless zombies it so famously celebrates with future instalments, then the barrage of fan-fired flak will be more difficult to avoid than a pack of ravenous, undead Dobermans crashing through the window.

But for now, time is firmly on Capcom’s side. And as luck would have it, the Japanese giant accidentally developed a highly-effective vaccine for today’s problem last year; one that is a frighteningly good fit for inoculating new fans and more importantly, containing the virus of discontent that has spread among their loyal fans.

Resident Evil: Revelations is that vaccine.

Last year’s 3DS exclusive will resonate fondly with gamers who grew up scouring the halls of the Spencer Mansion with two iconic members of the Special Tactics and Rescue Service. It represents an ode to skin-tingling RE of old, a realisation that the desperate fight to survive is exactly what made the series so terrifying and utterly compelling. If you wish to return to the horror that started it all – albeit without the zombies and archaic mechanics – this refined version of Revelations is as close as you’ll get.

Valentine’s Day

Jill Valentine is the leading lady once again for RE: Revelations’ storyline as she battles another batch of hideous B.O.Ws and tries to prevent a mad terrorist organisation named Veltro from executing their maniacal plan. When her trusty partner Chris Redfield is reported missing, Jill and the big-boned Italian Parker Luciani set out to find an abandoned cruise ship called the Queen Zenobia.

resident evil rachel wall blister

Rachel’s one of the new characters included, as are the kamikaze Wall Blister enemy type.

The plot unravels through the perspective of several characters during the game, switching between different locations and time periods to provide a greater insight into the events that have conspired. Unfortunately, the end result is a fragmented, stop-start experience, with certain throwaway sections consisting of no more than five to six minutes of gameplay and little substance. There’s plenty of shady characters, mutating fiends and all important freaks to dispose of during the six to eight hour campaign, but typically, Revelations’ story leaves a lot to be desired.

The plot unravels through the perspective of several characters during the game, switching between different locations and time periods to provide a greater insight into the events that have conspired.

The setting, however, does not. The eerie Queen Zenobia is right up there with the apocalyptic fallout in Raccoon City and the haunting emptiness of the Spencer Mansion – evoking equal amounts of suspense and impending doom. The claustrophobic corridors, blood-stained decks and inescapable fact that your team is stranded at sea keeps you on your toes with every step. A pity, then, that the player is whisked away all too often from the floating, hellish utopia to a number of decidedly bland, and meaningless locales.

Ooze There?

Upon boarding the chilling cruise ship, Jill and Parker eventually discover an all-new foe known as the Ooze. The Ooze share many similarities to the decomposing zombie hordes players are used to, but they’re refreshingly unique in their own right. Awkward to hit and with a habit of turning up when you least expect it, the pale, water-ravaged Ooze are a challenging and engaging enemy to overcome; their various offshoots also make fun cannon fodder.

But hitting them is far more difficult than it should be. Coming from the 3DS, hardly know for its pinpoint accuracy in the shooter field, the aiming (on the Wii U version at least) feels noticeably sketchy and rigid. The deadzone is too large, and by the time you’ve moved the sticks to get a reaction, your aim will end up flying past your intended target. Tie in the fact that the cursor moves up and down ever so slightly as the ship bobs on the ocean, and you have yourself a wobbly aiming experience.

But fear not RE fans, the aiming is by no means broken; it just takes awhile to get used to. Strangely, controlling the crosshair feels much tighter when playing solely on the GamePad as opposed to the TV, and if you change the speed to ‘high’ in the options, it makes the world of difference.

Combat takes place from the third-person perspective, with the option to choose classic RE ‘tank controls’ or the new default ‘shooter’ configuration. Even though you’re finally armed the freedom to flee while firing, it never feels like an unfair advantage. Nor does the dodge mechanic, where a correctly timed push forward on the analog stick lets you evade an enemy attack.

resident evil revelations HD

Something fleshy’s going on here…

Mixing up the standard scavenge, fight and heal formula is the ability to upgrade weapons using custom parts which can be found scattered throughout levels and uncovered using the game’s Genesis Scanner. The Genesis Scanner is also adept at revealing the whereabouts of nearby ammo, so it’s wise to whip it out and scan the room whenever you enter a new area. Managing and upgrading your weapons also adds a tactical element to the game, one that comes into its own during Raid Mode.

Freeze! It’s A Raid!

Raid Mode acts as the game’s multiplayer component and adds a welcomed dose of longevity to a relatively short campaign (though there’s plenty of replayability if you’re determined to unlock costumes, achievements and best brutally hard new Infernal difficulty mode). New levels, unlockables and stages have also been added to the HD version.

Raid Mode can be played offline or online, with players tackling numerous stages of re-imagined, reworked scenarios in a score attack format. You’re tasked with getting from start to finish, disposing of various Ooze enemy types – who have added perks such as increased speed or defence – as quickly and efficiently as possible. Should you survive the slaughter, currency (BP points) and badges are awarded, which can be used to purchase stronger weapons and items.

Raid Mode is a chalk and cheese alternative to the game’s slower-paced story component and it thrives because of it. It’s by far the most thoughtful addition to a RE game since Mercenaries Mode was introduced in Resident Evil 4. And in many ways, it betters it.

Luxury Liner

Resident Evil: Revelations is still comfortably one of the best-looking games on the 3DS today. And the HD remake solidifies this statement. To the uninformed, you’d be hard pressed to find any remaining evidence that this was once running on hardware less capable than a Nintendo Wii. Sure, there’s a few duff textures here and there, but with the reworked lighting, quicker load times and boost in resolution, Jill’s posterior looks firmer than ever in her figure hugging wetsuit.

As I mentioned in my review of the 3DS version back in February last year, Revelations has a sinisterly sharp audio track, perfect for those who choose to play their games with headphones on. On the Wii U, doing so is a simple as plugging a pair into the GamePad’s jack, allowing you to detect every grunt, groan and scream of the enemies that may be lurking round the corner with pinpoint accuracy. An advantage, then, and a feature that isn’t as easily accessible to PS3 and Xbox 360 owners.

The Wii U Difference:

RE: Revelations on Wii U wisely follows the layout of the 3DS version. The GamePad displays a big, bold map and simplified inventory, allowing you to switch between guns and support items with a quick tap instead of scrolling through with the D-Pad. It may seem superfluous, but it’s a useful, immersive addition.

resident evil revelations raid mode

“Stay back you affectionate freak!”

Fortunately, Off-TV play is fully supported and it’s an awesome way to experience Revelations. Say what you want about Nintendo’s new console, but Off-TV play will continue to be a game changing experience simply due to the fact you never actually have to stop. Snuggling up in bed to carry on the action or kindly offering the TV to your other half is a feature that never gets old, and Capcom have done a marvellous job of ensuring the game looks just as crisp on the GamePad’s screen as it does on the TV.

Nintendo’s wonderful Miiverse system is also cleverly integrated into Resident Evil: Revelations, with players able to post Death and Creature messages for other fans to chortle at. It gives the game a personal element, and adds some lighthearted fun to proceedings.

For more information, check out our review of Resident Evil: Revelations for the 3DS!

A review copy of Resident Evil: Revelations was provided courtesy of Capcom. The game was reviewed on Wii U.

Revel In It